Another front opened today in the ongoing war between the BJP-ruled Centre and Delhi’s AAP government — this time over the free electricity scheme, one of Arvind Kejriwal’s calling cards.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena directed the Chief Secretary to probe “irregularities and discrepancies” in the power subsidy given by the AAP government, and give a report in seven days. This comes about three months after he ordered a CBI probe into the liquor policy — a case in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is an accused.
Kejriwal saw the latest probe order as a BJP move against AAP’s expansion. “Gujarat is liking the free electricity guarantee by AAP,” he tweeted, alleging, “That’s why BJP wants to stop free electricity in Delhi.”
“People of Delhi, trust me. I will not let your free electricity be stopped under any circumstances. People of Gujarat, trust me, if our government is formed, your electricity will also be free from March 1,” he added.
Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi’s home state where the BJP has been in power for over two decades, has elections later this year. The AAP is targeting it as its third base after Delhi and Punjab.
गुजरात को “आप” की फ्री बिजली गारंटी खूब पसंद आ रही है। इसलिए बीजेपी दिल्ली में फ्री बिजली रोकना चाहती है
दिल्ली के लोगों, भरोसा रखना।मैं आपकी फ्री बिजली किसी हालत में रुकने नहीं दूँगा
गुजरात के लोगों, आपको विश्वास दिलाता हूँ कि सरकार बनने पर 1 मार्च से आपकी भी बिजली फ्री होगी
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 4, 2022
In July, the Lieutenant Governor ordered a CBI inquiry into the later-withdrawn New Excise Policy that had brought private players into the liquor trade in the national capital.
Delhi has 58 lakh domestic power consumers, of whom 47 lakh avail the subsidy — including 30 lakh who get zero bills as consumption of less than 200 units is free. About 17 lakh get a 50-per cent subsidy, which is for consumption of up to 400 units. The government pays the companies for this.
The AAP dismisses it all as the BJP’s “tactics”.
It has accused Saxena of a scam in the Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, which he headed before being appointed Lieutenant Governor of Delhi by the union government earlier this year.
The AAP government recently made a key change in the power subsidy scheme — now only those who opt for the subsidy will receive it. It came into effect last Saturday, and more tha 25 lakh consumers have applied so far.
With inputs from NDTV